The Legal Obligation to Prevent Genocide: Bosnia v Serbia and Beyond
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This article assesses the impact of legal rules aimed at preventing genocide. The specific features of the legal obligation to prevent genocide are analyzed in light of the current debate on the “responsibility to protect” and the ICJ’s stance on the issue in Bosnia v Serbia. While the content of positive obligations such as the one under discussion is usually elaborated through the case law of judicial or quasi-judicial bodies, the ICJ refrained from doing so, stating that only manifest breaches of the obligation to prevent genocide give rise to international responsibility. The author seeks an explanation for the reasons underlying such an approach, and tries to identify other ways in which legal standards in the field of genocide prevention could be developed.
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